Interview Mistakes

Easily Avoidable Interview Mistakes

I recently chatted with a hiring manager who was recruiting 60 staff for a brand new store (part-time to management). Naturally very curious, I asked the hiring manager to share some insights on the interview process and outcomes.

To support this mass recruitment a variety of interviews were held with candidates, including telephone, individual face-to-face, and group-based.

Her overall impression of candidates? Not good. She felt like too many candidates lacked interview savvy and often erred with easily avoidable mistakes.


Some of the worst offences:

❌ Not listening.

People rushed to answer or jumped in too quickly instead of really listening to what was being asked.A better tactic is to grant yourself a pause after each question to ponder an appropriate response. It is OK to take a moment to gather your thoughts. Better to compose a solid answer than miss the point entirely.

❌ Speaking over the interviewer.

Eventually, the interviewer stopped trying to compete with those who weren’t interested in engaging, and gave up. Be courteous and don’t let your nerves turn you into a motor mouth. Take time to absorb everything that is being shared and asked *before* speaking. This gives everyone a chance to speak and feel heard during the process and the interview can better analyze answers.

Too many ‘likes’.

This challenge seemed to plague the younger generation who were unaware of how unprofessional they sounded.If interview jitters cause you to ‘like‘ or ‘um‘  some practice can smooth out these distractions.  It is common for these additives to slip into speech during a thought process, but without conscious thought you likely won’t notice them – and they can become extremely distracting.

❌ Showing up in dirty or wrinkled clothes.

“Like, really?”How to dress for an interview is a hot topic and there are lots of factors to take into consideration, but showing up completely unpresentable is not acceptable. No interviewer is going to be able to overlook this. Always do your best to look professional. Always.

Lack of results in answers.

When pressed to provide specific examples of times they excelled, answers were vague, generalized, and unprepared. This common mistake needs the most attention because without solid examples to share, you won’t be able to win the interviewer over. The entire point of an interview is to fully flesh out your capabilities and provide proof of the skills you claim to have.

Spend time before every interview considering your value and how your value can benefit the employer.  Then compose and practice examples that best demonstrate this value in relation to the role.


The hiring manager’s biggest recommendation to job seekers, of all levels? Prepare, practice, and be professional! It seems obvious, but she honestly felt that less than HALF of all interviewees performed well.  Ouch.

Adrienne Tom

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1 Comment

  1. Srikanth on September 8, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I have read the article, this happens with people may be due to nervousness during the interview.

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